Review of Nazareth, with support from Swamp Radio @ Ironworks, Inverness, Sunday March 11th 2012, by Mark Dubanowski.
The hits of Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake and other classic rock acts blaring in the background set the tone for tonight’s show at the Ironworks. Amongst the steadily growing audience, a sea of middle-aged rockers attempting to relive their youth, as well as the occasional whippersnapper, all waiting in anticipation and excitement for the return of Dunfermline’s finest, Nazareth, who last performed in Inverness back in 2008, for their 40th Anniversary Tour! For a recent interview please see
The looks of excitement in the audience turned to that of confusion, as local support, Swamp Radio, gingerly walked on to the stage, kicking off tonight’s proceedings with a great blend of psychedelic and progressive rock.
During their half hour set, it was clear that Swamp Radio are a tight unit, the 4 piece playing with a confident swagger in their groove; filled with tasty bass lines, drum work deemed unorthodox, at times, and fantastic lead guitar work. Sections of straight hard rock were complimented with atmospheric passages. This all seemed underappreciated, bar from a few folk in the crowd cheering the lads on, as they struggled to build momentum during the first 10 minutes of their set. However, by the 3rd or 4th number, Swamp Radio had, finally, won over the Inverness crowd, with almost everyone pointing towards the stage, immersing themselves in the music, with the occasional spot of light head banging!
The interval dragged out over the next 45 minutes, with the crowd starting to get restless. But, as soon as the lights went down, and the pipes echoed through the hall, the entire room erupted with cheering and applauding, knowing that Nazareth were about to rock their socks off for the next 90 minutes. Founding member, Dan McCafferty walked on with the biggest grin on his face, declaring it good to be back in Inverness.
Rocking hard all throughout the night, it’s difficult to believe that Nazareth have been around for 44 years, now; Dan’s voice is as powerful as ever, Jimmy Murrison melted faces with his sizzling lead guitar and Pete and Lee Agnew are quite possibly the best father/son duo, filling the rhythm section with slick bass playing, as well as tight drum grooves, pounding through a set exploring their extensive back catalogue. The likes of ‘My White Bicycle’, ‘Bad Bad Boy’ and ‘Turn On Your’ ‘Receiver’ made it into tonight’s set, the band going with all guns blazing. At one point, Dan thought he was about to have a heart attack, soon dismissing it for a mild case of indigestion, but the only time they were actually seen to slow down the pace was during the tranquil melodies of ‘Sunshine’ and the hard-rocking celtic influenced, ‘See Me’.
It was unfortunate that songs from Nazareth’s latest album, Big Dogz, were not met with as much enthusiasm from the crowd, compared to the classics heard tonight. In fact, my only gripe with this evening was with individuals behind me insisting on constantly shouting for ‘Razamanaz’. Thankfully they were shut up, when Nazareth treated Inverness with a selection of hits from Hair Of The Dog (including Dan’s regular rendition of ‘Loch Lomond’ on his signature bagpipe talkbox, during the bridge of’ Hair Of The Dog’).
It was at this point, Nazareth thanked the Ironworks and left the stage, only to return a few minutes later to deliver a fantastic encore with ‘Razamanaz’ (still won’t make up for getting it shouted into my lug all night!), Love Hurts and closing on the epic ‘Broken Down Angel’ If Nazareth were to prove anything tonight, it’s that they’ve still got it after all these years!